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The Pandemic Challenged Conventional Thinking About Work. Can We Go Back To Business As Usual?

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Employers are increasingly urging or issuing hard deadlines for when staff should return to the office full time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released guidance on how to protect staff and to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

After a year of remote work, some employees are feeling uneasy about going back to the pre-COVID workplace, workflow and office culture. What is the future of work in a post-pandemic world? Will the traditional workplace return to its pre-COVID ways? Should it?

What are some best practices and things to consider when it comes to workplace reintegration? What are employees' chief concerns?

How can employers help facilitate a smooth return? Should there be room for negotiation about when and how to move forward?

What are the pros and cons of in-person vs. remote work? What about a hybrid model? Is the collaborative spirit better achieved in person? Are people more or less productive working from home? What is the impact of each approach on an employee's work-life balance?

Will we see more flexibility in the workplace? Should employers be more accommodating than before for staffers' scheduling personal appointments, doctor visits, home repairs and teacher conferences, etc. during business hours? What about concerns related to childcare and sick leave?

Guests:

  • Debbie Berkowitz, director of the National Employment Law Project's Worker Safety and Health program
  • Sara Perry, Ph.D., associate professor of management at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business

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*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, June 9.